Title: Under the Unconquerable Night
Archive: Ask Please
Disclaimer: If I owned them then this is how "Through A Glass, Darkly" would have gone and there would be no pointless episodes!
Setting/Season: Season 5
Spoilers: Under the Night, Ouroboros, The Unconquerable Man, Through A Glass Darkly
Warnings: None really
Summary: What if Dylan had gone back to Hephaistos? Alternate version of "Through A Glass, Darkly"
This was for the best wasn't it?
Dylan sighed as he watched Harper and Hohne as they finished calibrating their machine.
'This has to be worth it,' he thought once more. Going back to the past, it would be better for everybody. Because even thought his old crew was finally starting to work together again, Dylan knew that deep down they still blamed him for Seefra. And now it was like the universe was handing him a chance for a do-over when Hohne showed up when he did.
It had to be destiny.
Three years ago the genius Persied had apparently fallen to his death only to be tesseracted into their future. Somewhere else in the universe, Harper's machine was still active and the Trances was switching places.
But here now was Hohne, working with Harper to recreate the time machine that had sent him to Sara. Only this time it would send him back to Hephaistos, to stop the Nietzschean uprising, and to prevent the Systems Commonwealth from falling.
Seefra would never happen.
His crew would be happy.
He wasn't leaving them in Seefra on their own, he was trying to do right and change their futures as if they had never met him.
They would all be better off.
Better still if he really managed to stop the Fall of the Commonwealth and prevent the Long Night from happening. He had seen one universe in which his slingshot manoeuver around the black hole had worked and he had saved the universe. Maybe this was how that world came to exist?
Well whatever happened, Seefra wouldn't.
He was saving them.
Hohne's arrival wasn't a coincidence.
As Harper and the Persied made the final adjustments, Dylan found himself stepping into the time machine and being transported into the past for the third time in his life.
It was the same as last time.
The distorted feeling of his molecules rearranging themselves across time and space.
When Dylan finally came back to himself the first things he noticed were Andromeda's klaxons blaring out a Code Blue.
For months of inactivity it was amazing to see her at the peak of battle as the formidable Heavy Cruiser warship she was.
The Battle of Hephaistos.
He was back.
The old red and gold of the Andromeda tugged at his heart. Her standard colours of the old Commonwealth, long before the Magog ripped through her hull and brutalized her inner depths.
Pushing away his nostalgia, Dylan focused himself on the task ahead.
To save the Commonwealth his slingshot manoeuver with Refractions of Dawn had to work, they couldn't be distracted.
And the only way to do that was...
He had to kill him. Again.
For if he reached Command and killed Dawn then it was all over. Good-bye Commonwealth and Hello Long Night.
The Andromeda had to warn the Commonwealth of the uprising. It was the only way to stop the Magog and the Abyss in the future when the threat was more than real. It was the only way to stop them from tearing through the post-civil war chaos that the Nietzschean Rebellion would inevitable cause.
Steeling himself for what was to come, Dylan started to Command.
A familiar voice made Dylan freeze behind a corner.
"Yes. Hephaistos, on a parabolic mission towards the black hole. It's the eve of the Nietzschean uprising."
"Trance?" whispered Dylan.
No, that couldn't be right. It just couldn't. He quietly and carefully peered around the corner. What he saw made his stomach drop.
She was there.
And so was...Rhade?
"I remember. So much has happened. There's so much for him to understand. So much for him to know."
"Make sure that he does. It's up to you now."
Dylan watched Trance kiss Rhade's cheek before she disappeared in a fading blue tesseract as the Nietzschean drew his force lance and set down the same corridor Dylan had been planning to take himself.
What the hell was going on?
Forcing his legs to move, he followed Rhade and became numb when the grey-clad Rhade shot the Rhade in red leather before switching uniforms.
After he had gone, Dylan found that his body had somehow moved to the fallen Nietzschean's side.
Shot in the chest by...himself?
It couldn't be.
This wasn't how it happened.
Kneeling down beside Gaheris's body, Dylan picked up his limp hand.
Gaheris never had a scar.
He knew that but...the Gaheris he gave to Telemachus did...
The Rhade that came with Trance.
From the future.
An alternate reality to save the past.
"This isn't possible..." mumbled Dylan, "How could it..."
But as Dylan thought more about it, the more he realized.
Their final fight.
But...Dylan shook his head, Gaheris would have done anything to win but then why...why did he spend so much time talking...take so many chances...second thoughts...or...
The tesseracts...the proof lay now before him didn't it?
"So now you know."
Dylan jumped in shock at the voice behind him and spun to face the speaker.
"Trance?" He stared at the hooded golden figure, the same one (he thought) that searched for him through alternate dimensions to lead him home.
"Trance?" he repeated.
"One version of her."
"What? Trance what the hell is going on?"
"He came to set things right."
"Right? Him? So then...who I saw with the other you...he's..."
"Captain Gaheris Rhade of the Andromeda Ascendant. In his timeline he killed Refractions of Dawn and then you shortly thereafter. After being frozen in time for 300 years and rescued by the Eureka Maru he found that he betrayed his best friend, you, for nothing. There was no Nietzschean Empire, just chaos. He disowned his own people. By the time Harper built his tesseract machine, the New Commonwealth was falling apart, worlds were leaving the charter. He had failed.
"The side effects of Harper's machine, the tesseracts, allowed him to come back here to change history, much like I did in your timeline as well as his.
"He died so that you could live to restore the Commonwealth. Succeed where he had failed. You are the one Dylan."
"No, Trance that..." Dylan stared at her in disbelief. In the original timeline...he had died? Gaheris took over the Andromeda and attempted to rebuild what he helped destroy? Came back in time for a final act of complete selflessness? Nietzscheans fought to survive at all costs, but Gaheris...let him kill him? For the Commonwealth?
It was...Dylan didn't know what it was. He couldn't think. Every emotion that he had ever felt for Gaheris came bubbling to the surface.
Best friend, confidant, First Officer, betrayer...killer and saviour?
It was too much.
He needed answers.
"You're here now Dylan, you can still change things."
Trance blinked out of reality and left Dylan to process the truth.
If that's really what happened...he still needed answers.
Shaking himself out of it, Dylan got up and ran to catch up to Gaheris who was still on a course towards Command.
Out of the shock of hearing his name called, Gaheris spun around and levelled his force lance. He almost dropped it at the sight before him.
His superior hearing told him that his old Captain was yelling orders at Dawn just beyond the Command door that he now stood in front of.
"Put it down Gaheris."
He looked at him closer. Dirty, disheveled, tired, and wearing a brown jacket Gaheris had never seen before.
"Ironic isn't it? We're both here from futures that didn't work."
Dylan watched his old First Officer realize what he had just said; that's when he noticed something.
"You have a scar of your right hand."
Gaheris looked briefly at his hand, "Meaning?"
"When I gave you to your descendants for burial you had a scar I never noticed before. The past you that you just killed doesn't have a scar. You do. Where'd you get it?"
Gaheris hesitated before answering, "Tyr."
Tyr. The scar was from Tyr. In the future.
Dylan sighed and lowered his forcelance, "Don't do this Gaheris."
"You're the one they need to rebuild the Commonwealth. I failed."
"And so did I!" yelled Dylan, he was done. After everything he had been through, everything his crew had been through, it all went to hell. "I did rebuild the Commonwealth but guess what? Instead of an outside force ripping them apart they did it to themselves! The Collectors, split the Commonwealth into two pieces, there's so much in-fighting that they can't focus on the big picture!"
Gaheris stared at Dylan. He had come here from a future where the Restored Systems Commonwealth was destroying itself. His Captain, here at this moment.
As Gaheris came from the future to fix a ruined failed world, Dylan was doing the same. They had both come back to Hephaistos, where it all had began. If his government wasn't focusing on the real threat...
"Yes, the Magog. The New Commonwealth will be just as destroyed as the Old."
"Didn't they offer you the First Triumvir position? They would if..."
"Yes, yes they did, but guess what? Can you guess what I did?"
"You didn't take it."
"No I didn't. And you know why? Because they had to be free to govern themselves. Obviously that was a big mistake."
A cynical Dylan? Gaheris couldn't imagine what could have done this to the eternal optimist he had once known. Though he had a point. A New Commonwealth would need to be led by the hand to make things right, "They've lived their lives through corruption and trying to make their own way for their own people. They don't know how to govern a collective."
"Well I know that now don't I?" said Dylan sarcastically. He was tired, and starting to sound just as jaded as Telemachus. Gaheris probably didn't even recognize him. "You said I was the one, Trance tell you that?"
"Right, she would, she's said it to me so many times and now with all this Paradine stuff..."
"Long story. Short version is, the universe is still going to go to hell with me calling the shots. The only way to save the future is to warn the Commonwealth against the Rebellion. Here. Right now. If it stays strong the Magog won't sweep through its remains and we'll be ready for them. If not, I get to land the crew in Seefra and ruin all their lives."
"What?" Dylan didn't catch Gaheris's mumbled word. Though it looked to be more to himself than directed at Dylan.
"Armpit of the universe, no way out, Route of Ages, another very long story."
"So then, we both fail. Only you got further than I did."
"The Magog are going to rip the Known Worlds apart, there's nothing you can do here Gaheris; just die. And trust me, I know."
"What do you suggest?"
Dylan paused. What was he suggesting?
"I...you know what? I think we need to get over something. I killed you and you killed me right?"
Gaheris nodded, "Yes."
"We both feel bad, you killed me for nothing, I killed you because you let me but I didn't know it at the time and have spent the last five years thinking that you betrayed me when you actually betrayed me before but then came back here to set things right and I killed you...right?"
"If I follow you then yes, that is correct."
"And we're both sorry for killing each other?"
"I never thought we'd ever be having this conversation."
"Neither did I."
"I hate the universe," said Dylan.
"It has a sick sense of humour."
"Don't go through that door."
"Or if you do, just don't start shooting."
"I believe you can do this."
"Well I don't. You haven't seen the crew."
"And I never will again. Dylan I have to do this."
"No you don't."
"Come back with me then. Let my plan work, let him and Dawn warn the Commonwealth."
"Your future wouldn't exist."
"Anything's better than Seefra and well, maybe it'll create an alternate time line or something."
Gaheris gave him a small smile, "You know the truth now. Why I did what I did. That is more than I could ever have asked. But I have to do this. This is my penance. I killed you for nothing, I failed in the future. Trance believes that you can set things right. And so do I. Whatever has happened in your universe you'll fix it."
"I highly doubt that."
"Pessimism isn't a survival trait. You told me that once before and now I say it to you. A word of advice: Don't hold onto things you can't change. It's something I learned the hard way."
Dylan watched as Gaheris saluted him for the last time. "Captain."
Slow understanding started to creep through Dylan.
"Gaheris you can't..." And then he felt it. His body twisted as he was engulfed in a flashing blue ripple.
"What the hell was that?"
"Was that a tesseract field?" asked Hohne excitedly, "I didn't know the time machine produced such effects, maybe we did something different in the calculations..."
Dylan blinked and looked around at his surroundings.
He was back on Seefra.
Dylan walked past Harper and Hohne in a daze.
Nothing had changed.
Or had it?
He had been given a chance. It just wasn't what he expected it to be. Once he finally stopped walking and became aware of his surroundings, Dylan found himself outside the doors to Command. Their silver colour echoing Andromeda's red and gold ghost as well as another long dead.
For just a few minutes he had understood Gaheris.
And for a while he had had his First Officer back.
His best friend who believed that he could still reunite the galaxies.
Pessimism isn't a survival trait.
He had lost his hope, and then Gaheris had given him his.
It was then that Dylan knew, he would get his crew out of Seefra, reunite the Commonwealth, and stop the Magog.
He owed it to Gaheris to try.
A/N: When I first heard about "Through A Glass, Darkly" I was so excited because I love time travel. The idea for this fic came about the week before TAGD aired. This is what I thought it would be like but what did the writers give us instead? A complete waste of an episode. Dylan should have gone back to Hephaistos damn it!